Best Places To Live
Call us gluttons for punishment (and angry letters from you), but this year, we dared to tackle the unthinkable—we’ve numerically ranked (virtually) every place there is to live in our county, from best to worst. Yes, this means there is indeed a Number 1—and it also means there is a Number 40. Read on, and see where your town fell in our rankings.
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Diversity: 10 / Housing Costs: 8 / Parks & Recreation: 3
Property Tax: 9 / Proximity to NYC: 10 / Safety: 4 / Schools: 1
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 10 / Shopping: 8 / Downtown: 7
One of six cities in our county (the others are Mount Vernon, Rye, Peekskill, New Rochelle, and White Plains), Yonkers, despite some of its gritty aspects, ranked 12th on our list for a variety of reasons—its proximity to New York City (in 25 minutes, Yonkers residents can zip to Times Square) and to water (it hugs the Hudson); the diversity of its population (there is a 74-percent chance of two random
people from Yonkers to be of a different race versus, say, in Pound Ridge, where the chance of that happening is only 16 percent); and the many restaurants (from elegant X2O on the pier to Frank Pepe pizzeria on Central Avenue) and fun spots that have sprung up along its coastline (on most summer evenings, the pier is packed with hundreds of revelers enjoying live music and stunning river views) and its surrounding streets in recent years. In the past decade, formerly downtrodden sections of the city have been reinvented. Odds are good that, with some more time and a more favorable economic climate, the west side of the city near the river will blossom even more.
An unwieldy five-way intersection, a dearth of parking, and few sidewalks all contribute to Ardsley's downtown challenges.
Photo by Adam Samson
Diversity: 6 / Housing Costs: 4 / Parks & Recreation: 5
Property Tax: 6 / Proximity to NYC: 8 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 9
Proximity to Water: 8 / Nightlife: 2 / Shopping: 1 / Downtown: 2
In the southern part of the county and near water, but not on it, except for a tiny portion (it is essentially landlocked), Ardsley, with a population of 4,560, has schools its residents can be proud of (its high school seniors scored 1788 on the SATs, 148 points above the county average of 1640); is relatively close to New York City (Midtown is only a 34-minute drive away); and is cozy and safe. But Ardsley’s downtown is far from picture-perfect and prone to traffic tie-ups.
Diversity: 6 / Housing Costs: 3 / Parks & Recreation: 2
Property Tax: 4 / Proximity to NYC: 9 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 7
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 5 / Shopping: 7 / Downtown: 8
Often overlooked, the town of Pelham where the median household income is $91,810, has a charming downtown, interesting shopping, and even a nightlife of sorts, thanks especially to the still-in-progress Pelham Picture House, which already has attracted top-notch actors and directors to screen and discuss their films. Also, the village offers a short commute into New York City (31 minutes to Midtown), and it is certainly beautiful, especially its housing stock (average home price: $767,840) of well-kept older homes, some of them sitting smack on the Long Island Sound, alongside the New York Athletic Club and Shore Park. Pelham’s high school students scored an average 1683 on the SATs last year—43 points above the county average. The downside? Pelham ranks low on green space.
An institution in Tarrytown, Mint offers gourmet fare to the many shoppers who come to town to shop, dine, and be entertained.
Photo by Adam Samson
Diversity: 8 / Housing Costs: 7 / Parks & Recreation: 3
Property Tax: 5 / Proximity to NYC: 6 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 2
Proximity to Water: 10 / Nightlife: 9 / Shopping: 9 / Downtown: 10
Charming with a delightful downtown bustling with antiques stores, galleries, one-of-a-kind shops, restaurants, and, let’s not forget, a great music hall, Tarrytown has plenty to offer: relatively reasonable housing costs ($509,260 is the average cost of a house); lots of diversity (residents have a nearly 61-percent chance of bumping into another resident who is not of the same ethnic background); and, of course, it’s right by the river. No wonder it’s a favorite town of many. However, its proportion of open space to its population is low, and its schools are surprisingly lackluster.
 Rye Brook
Diversity: 3 / Housing Costs: 3 / Parks & Recreation: 3
Property Tax: 4 / Proximity to NYC: 5 / Safety: 10 / Schools: 10
Proximity to Water: 9 / Nightlife: 3 / Shopping: 5 / Downtown: 3
Picturesque and often in the shadow of neighboring Rye, this village of 9,567 scores well on schools, proximity to water, and safety. But to buy a house here, you’ll need around $706,660, on which you’ll pay $16,653 a year in property taxes. And while its downtown isn’t much to write home about, it’s close enough to downtown Rye and other similar communities with scads of restaurants and high-profile shopping, making it a pretty darn nice place to live.
 Mount Kisco
Diversity: 9 / Housing Costs: 5 / Parks & Recreation: 6
Property Tax: 2 / Proximity to NYC: 3 / Safety: 8 / Schools: 6
Proximity to Water: 3 / Nightlife: 8 / Shopping: 10 / Downtown: 10
Shopping? Check. Dining? Check. Great downtown? Ditto. Mount Kisco bustles—in a posh, desirable way. No wonder many residents in neighboring towns—actually residents in most towns north of 287—wend their way to stroll its downtown streets lined with hip boutiques as well as big-name chains, cafés with outdoor seating, a movie theater, and much more. Furthermore, Mount Kisco is diverse. But while home costs aren’t outrageous (comparatively speaking, of course) property taxes are among the highest in the county: $21,350 on average.